Collins, London, 1944, illus Anne Bullen
Reprinted Knight paperbacks 1976
Brockhampton Press, Leicester, hb, 1976, jacket & frontis Richard Kennedy, 150 pp.
The more ponies of this title come about because Jean and her friend Judy start a riding school when they leave school. It’s set during World War II, and Jean has had to leave school, owing to her parents not having enough money to pay the fees because her father has left his job to return to the Army. Added to that, the school is near the coast and Jean’s parents feel it’s likely to be bombed, and Jean’s mother needs company now her father will be away.
So far so good … Jean is delighted to be leaving school and not having to take the School Certificate. But delight does not last. The advent of war means that animal feed is in very short supply, and is very expensive when it can be found. One of Jean’s ponies must be sold. There is a solution: many children and their mothers have left London to escape the prospect of being bombed, and those children are all very keen to ride. When Jean meets one such child out hunting, and the child’s mother asks her for lessons for Susan and Topsy, Jean agrees. Together with her friend, Judy, they start a riding school, and manage to do well enough to expand.
This plot was based firmly in life. Joanna Cannan was mother to the Pullein-Thompson sisters, and she ruthlessly plundered their experiences for plots. The Pullein-Thompsons explained in their autobiographical Fair Girls and Grey Horses how, with the advent of wartime and the hike in feed prices, they had to find a way of supporting their ponies, and so the riding school was born.
The Jean series
A Pony for Jean
Another Pony for Jean
More Ponies for Jean